Summer in Orlando, with its daily summer downpours, may be behind us, but rain in Florida is always a possibility. Getting drenched at Walt Disney World can put a real damper on your day, especially now that it’s cooler out.
So, what do you do if there’s rain in your forecast? Cancel your plans and hole up at your hotel? Never! Rainy days bring lighter crowds and there’s plenty to do inside, so grab those ponchos and hit the parks. Here are our favorite ways to escape the rain (or embrace it!) at Walt Disney World:
Choose Your Park
Some people feel strongly that there’s a best and worst park to visit in the rain, but we think there’s enough to do at all four parks to keep your day from being ruined. That said, depending on your interests, the indoor attractions at some parks will appeal to you more than others.
Rethink Your FastPasses
If rain looks like a certainty, keep in mind that it may impact your FastPasses. Some attractions, including Test Track, Expedition Everest, and Slinky Dog Dash, almost always close during rain. Yes, your FastPass will be replaced with a ‘Multiple Experiences’ selection, which can be used on other select attractions, but if everything you have your heart set on is outside, you could be headed for some disappointment if you don’t revise your priorities for the day.
Hit Up All the Indoor and Covered Rides
It goes without saying that you’ll want to beeline to the indoor attractions when the skies open. If you don’t have an immediate FastPass to use, head for an indoor or covered ride with a great standby queue to help you pass the time. Here are our top picks for indoor and covered rides at each of the four parks:
Future World is a bit of a construction warzone at the moment, but that honestly makes it the perfect time to spend your visit indoors instead of staring at all those construction walls as you mourn the destruction of the Fountain of Nations. Our favorite indoor Future World attractions (excluding Test Track, which doesn’t run in the rain), in descending order, are:
- Spaceship Earth (Ride this while you can. It’s closing for a massive overhaul soon.)
- Living with the Land
- The Seas With Nemo and Friends
- Journey Into Imagination With Figment
- Mission Space (plus kids play area)
Also worth a visit is Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the Epcot Experience, an impressive 360-presentation showcasing what’s in store for Epcot once the park’s ambitious transformation is complete.
In theory, there’s a lot to do indoors within World Showcase, but darting from country to country during a downpour is pretty unpleasant. The good news is that two of the closest countries to Future World are Mexico and Norway, both of which have fun indoor rides worth a visit: Gran Fiesta Tour and Frozen Ever After.
Magic Kingdom can easily be a two-day (or more) park, so knock out a bunch of the best indoor attractions when it’s raining and you won’t feel like you’re missing a thing. All of these rides would make our Magic Kingdom must-do list whether it’s raining or not:
- Peter Pan
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Haunted Mansion
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
- Space Mountain
- Jungle Cruise
These are lower down the list but still awesome attractions, especially if you have younger kids:
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- It’s a Small World
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Enchanted Tales With Belle
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We’ve heard plenty of people say this park isn’t great in the rain, and it’s not our favorite, but there are still a few indoor or covered rides that make it worth the trip, especially when combined with one or two of the park’s great shows:
- AVATAR Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land have brought higher crowds to this park, so rain might be just what the doctor ordered if you’re hoping to visit Hollywood Studios on a lighter day. You’ll miss out on Slinky Dog Dash, the park’s new-ish coaster in Toy Story Land, but all of the park’s other top attractions are indoors:
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
- Toy Story Mania
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Alien Swirling Saucers
Catch a Show or Short Film
Even if you think you’re “not a show person,” a rainy day is the perfect time to finally watch one and see what all the fuss is about. Here are some of our favorites:
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Turtle Talk With Crush
- The American Adventure
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid
Linger Over a Relaxing Table-Service Meal
When the weather is gorgeous and you’ve got a long list of attractions to do, it can be tough to enjoy a leisurely table-service meal. But, when it’s raining buckets outside, lingering over a great meal in an immersive spot becomes a welcome escape you never want to end.
No, it’s not always easy to snag a last-minute reservation, but a few atmospheric spots where we’ve gotten lucky and nabbed a table include:
- Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom
- Coral Reef, Biergarten, and San Angel Inn at Epcot
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and 50’s Prime-Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Even better, if the weather looks terrible the night before, ditch your quick-service plans and book the best table-service reservation you can find.
A rainy evening would also be a great time to check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. This long-running dinner show keeps has been a fan-favorite for more than 40 years and is the perfect way to combine dinner and entertainment while keeping you out of the rain.
Shop Til You Drop
If you went to Walt Disney World and didn’t home with a suitcase full of souvenir merch, were you ever even there? Ducking into a store is the quickest way to escape a downpour. If there’s a lot of rain in the forecast, we recommend holding off on shopping unless it’s raining, so that you never waste a dry moment in the stores when you could be enjoying outdoor attractions.
Explore the Resorts
We’ve just given you plenty of ways to enjoy the parks at Walt Disney World without letting the rain get you down, but sometimes you look out your window in the morning and just don’t want to deal with getting drenched all day. If you find yourself feeling this way, make it a resort day!
Head to one of Walt Disney World’s most atmospheric resorts and explore. Learn their stories, marvel at the details, search for hidden Mickeys, pin trade, and eat at one of the many great restaurants. These are a few of our favorite resorts where it’s easy to while away a rainy afternoon—or entire day:
Monorail Loop Resorts
Make it a progressive rain escape by visiting all three monorail resorts. Get lei’d and grab a tiki drink at Trader Sam’s or a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Have cocktails and light bites in Beast’s library at Enchanted Rose and take in the beautiful music in the gorgeous Victorian lobby at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. End your day at Disney’s Contemporary Resort with one of the best meals on property at California Grill and a great view of Magic Kingdom fireworks (they usually still go off even with rain), or with an awesome character dinner at Chef Mickey’s.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Cozy up by the fire with a book and a hot chocolate before eating at Whispering Canyon Café or Storybook Dining at Artist Point.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Admire the resort’s impressive collection of African art and artifacts, watch zebras, giraffes, and other animals out on the Savanna, and eat at one of the resort’s restaurants, several of which are among the best anywhere at Walt Disney World.
What are your favorite ways to spend a rainy day at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!